Knicks’ Rumored Star Target Praises Jalen Brunson Amid Offseason Speculation

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Getty Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks heads for the net.

Prior to his trade to the Golden State Warriors Thursday, the New York Knicks were linked as a possible destination for legendary point guard Chris Paul this summer, and his recent appearance on The Ryen Russillo Podcast only added fuel to these buzzed-about rumblings.

When discussing the current state of the Knicks, the future Hall of Famer couldn’t help but rave about New York’s starting floor general Jalen Brunson, glowingly noting that the franchise is lucky to have him.

“Jalen Brunson, that’s my man. Y’all so lucky to have Jalen here,” Chris Paul said. “One year I was traveling and I wanted somebody to travel and work out with me. It was Rick Brunson. So Jalen was in eighth grade or ninth grade working out and training with me. Jalen been nice for a long time. Y’all just know that. Y’all getting to see it now… He’s always had a brilliant basketball mind and him coming to New York gave him the opportunity to run the show.”

Chris Paul would continue on to reveal that he went to the Final Four with Rick Brunson (presumably in 2018, as he noted he was playing the Spurs at the time and the event was held in San Antonio) “to watch Jalen play when he was in college.”

Insider Believed Knicks Were a Team to Watch for Chris Paul

Prior to his move to the Washington Wizards via the Bradley Beal blockbuster and, ultimately, his arrival in Golden State, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that if Chris Paul were to have been waived and, in turn, hit the free agency market, the Knicks would have been a threat to the Warriors in such a pursuit.

“If Chris Paul is out there as a free agent this summer, look at the two teams in L.A. — the Clippers and the Lakers — the Knicks in New York [and] the Golden State Warriors. Those are potential destinations for Chris Paul, who would sign a deal in a much lower number than the $30 million he’s guaranteed in Phoenix if he stays there past that June 28 deadline,” Wojnarowski said.

Though this report was made while he was still a member of the Phoenix Suns, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM revealed to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that a current player informed him the Knicks would have been a real contender for his services if he was released.

“I still think the Lakers and Clippers probably have the best shot, probably more so the Lakers. Now, somebody could still trade for him with that salary. I find it hard to believe, but it’s possible. If he gets waived outright, I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks only because a player told me he was hearing they’re a good option for Chris, so keep that in mind,” Gambadoro said.

Knicks Could Use Julius Randle as a ‘Matching Salary’

Should the Knicks make a move for a star-caliber player on the trade block this summer, CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn suggests that while they may “hate to trade him,” All-Star big man Julius Randle could be used as a “matching salary” in a high-profile exchange.

“Randle’s two-time All-NBA status would seemingly make him a valuable trade asset… but back-to-back poor playoff showings limit his appeal. The Knicks want to land a star, and the matching salary they send out will likely depend on what kind of player they get back. If they acquire a top big man? Randle almost has to be in the trade, as he makes little sense alongside a better power forward or center,” Quinn wrote.

Heading into the second season of his current four-year, $117 million contract, Randle finds himself coming off his second All-NBA and All-Star season, where he posted a career-best scoring average of 25.1 points per game to go along with 10.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists.